Wednesday, 1 September 2010

A Toronto International Film Festival Gala Ticket Giveaway!

11 days, 300 films - what will you see?

The Toronto International Film Festival marks the end of the summer with excitement and glamour and you could be a part of it!
Sun-kissed and sweet, straight from the celebrity capital of the world, California Strawberries have just been announced as the official strawberry of the Toronto International Film Festival 2010.
When Canada slips into winter, we rely on our friends to the south for fresh produce - and strawberries are on everyone's top ten list. These particular strawberries want to give away two tickets to a TIFF gala screening!

TIFF, The 35th Toronto International Film Festival, September 9-19th. TIFF will be doing a lottery draw Thursday September 2nd for the Gala tickets. Gala screening tickets are high profile film screenings at Roy Thomson Hall (Toronto) each evening at 6:30pm and 9:30pm and matinées on weekends during the Festival. You must be 18 years or older and responsible for your own transportation.

One of my lucky readers will be getting a pair of these tickets. If you are over 18 and in the area and want to attend, leave a comment on my new cocktail site - Cocktail Puppy - or email me at livinginthekitchenwithpuppies AT hotmail DOT com
Winner will be announced here and on Cocktail Puppy on September 3rd.

Here are some great recipes and party tips from the California Strawberry Commission!

Lights, Camera... Party!

* E-vites are fun but if you want to do something unique, send out printed invites in movie ticket-style format
* Should you wish to keep things entertaining, why not opt for a Hollywood themed costume party for an unforgettable time
* Be sure to screen films with an action or comedic theme – this will keep everyone occupied and glued to the screen
* If you’re looking for more of an interactive experience, create movie trivia themed games, and award winners with swag bags
* Be sure to arrange your food in a chic way – some ideas include displaying containers of popcorn, glass jars for candy, prepared fruit trays, or letting guests create their own snack bags before the show
* Spruce up cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks with California strawberry flavoured ice cubes
* Keep the décor simple – opt for comfortable touches such as blankets or floor cushions to instantly add additional seating

Come one, come all! Make your VIP party the coveted event that will leave your friends raving at the water-cooler come Monday morning.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Strawberry Dipping Sauce
Keep things light and fun with this delectable dessert that will have everyone raving about the taste and not the calories!

Dipping Sauce

* 1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced stemmed California strawberries
* 2 tbsp. (30 mL) rice vinegar
* 1 tbsp. (15 mL) Asian sesame oil
* 1 tbsp. (15 mL) sugar 

* 2 tsp. (10 mL) Vietnamese fish sauce 

* 1/2 tsp. (2 mL) chili flakes

Spring Rolls

* 24 cooked shrimp
* 3/4 teaspoon (3 mL) seasoned rice vinegar
* 8 spring roll wrappers
* 16 mint leaves
* 16 cilantro sprigs
* 3/4 cup (175 mL) sliced California strawberries
* 1 cucumber halved and cut into thin lengthwise strips
* Strawberry Dipping Sauce

Strawberry Dipping Sauce – Directions
Purée dipping sauce ingredients in blender or food processor. Pour into small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spring Roll – Directions
In a bowl, toss shrimp with vinegar; set aside. Dip 1 wrapper into very hot water for a few seconds until soft and flexible; blot on towel to remove excess water. Place 2 mint leaves, 2 cilantro sprigs, 3 pieces California strawberry, 3 shrimp and 3 cucumber strips in a line down the center of wrapper. Fold bottom over filling, fold in sides and roll up into tight cylinder. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make 8 rolls. Serve each roll with 1 tablespoon strawberry Dipping Sauce.

Makes 8 spring rolls.

Tip: Rolls may be made up to 8 hours ahead. Place in single layer on serving plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Red Carpet Romance

* Try to keep the night’s plans under-wraps. The surprise factor of the evening will immediately whisk them away into a film set setting!
* Try to recreate a scene from one of your first dates by renting the first flick you saw together
* Set the mood by keeping lights dimmed and candles lit for a more intimate feel
* Greet your guy or girl with a glass of champagne topped off with California strawberries – an understated elegance!
* Keep things comfy by having pillows, blankets or even an air bed on hand
* Keep the fare light and simple – opt for take-out if you’re pressed for time

Get your best girl friends together and celebrate the week’s festivities in style with an exclusive VIP party that’s sure to set the trend for years to come.

Strawberry and Brie Bruschetta
A classically romantic gesture, have fun feeding each other between flicks with this amazing twist on bruschetta recipe.

* 12 slices French bread, cut 2 cm. thick
* 1/4 (50 ml) cup butter, softened
* 1/4 (50 mL) cup packed brown sugar
* 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cinnamon
* 1 small brie cut into 6 wheels
* 2 cups (500 mL) of sliced stemmed California strawberries
* 1/2 cup (25 mL) sliced almonds, toasted

Heat oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Spread 1 side of each bread slice with butter; arrange, butter side up, on large baking sheet. In small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle approximately 1 teaspoon (5 mL) over each slice of bread. Reserve remaining sugar mixture. Toast bread in oven. Remove from oven. Top each with 1 wedge of cheese; return to oven. Bake until cheese is melted. Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine strawberries and remaining sugar mixture; toss lightly. Spoon strawberry mixture over each toasted slice; sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Glam Gals Premiere

* Set the mood (and save a tree) by sending out exclusive e-vites noting the date, time, location and of course the dress code
* Suggest your friends all wear their favourite cocktail dresses, even assigning a paparazzi photographer to capture the red carpet moments
* Request film suggestions from your guests as they RSVP
* Keep the décor consistent, taking note of after-party trends from LA to Toronto including an Arabian cafe, South Beach Luxe or Black and White modern finishes
* Be sure to include appetizers before the main dishes are served. Consider fresh fruit platters with California strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, with a whipped cream side for dipping
* It’s a big night, so bust out the champagne or prosecco and be sure to keep in mind alternatives such as ginger-ale or sparkling water for nondrinkers
* A California strawberry slice will add an instant upgrade to the rim of any cocktail or beverage
* Make guests feel like stars by sending them off with swag-bags that can include fun but inexpensive items like candy, costume jewelry, note pads or dollar-store finds

Movie Marathon for 2 – It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to celebrate a night in with your partner, take these tips and up the wow factor for your significant other.

Frosty Strawberry Pops
Keep things light and fun with this delectable dessert that will have everyone raving about the taste and not the calories!

* 1 pound (500g) of California strawberries, stemmed
* 1/2 can (370 mL) evaporated milk
* 3 tablespoons (45 mL) frozen orange juice concentrate

In blender container, blend all ingredients about 1 minute until smooth. Pour into 8 – 3-ounce, wax-coated paper cups or into plastic molds for freezer pops. Insert a wooden craft stick or plastic spoon into the center of each pop. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours. To release pops from cups, dip briefly into hot water up to rim of cup.

Makes 8 servings.

Cups can be found in the paper goods section of most supermarkets.